Swan Family Centre – Lambeth was first enhanced accredited in 2019, offering a purpose-built venue on ground level. Staff from this centre also work at Swan’s nearby centres in Croydon. It is overseen by Swanstaff Recruitment which operates within a wide range of sectors across the UK. Swanstaff has many service level agreements with local council authorities in England and Wales and is a growing contact service. This particular centre is located within the Kennington area of Lambeth which is served by several London Underground stations. Kennington is the location of three significant London landmarks: the Oval cricket ground, the Imperial War Museum, and Kennington Park is a 10 minute walk from the centre.
The centre has a good selection of playrooms and a good variety of equipment for all ages with a strict cleaning regime. There is also a covered play area in the outdoor space. The toilets meet the requirements for NACCC, with disabled toilets and ramps for accessibility. At the time of the report face masks were being worn in the centre when entering and moving around the rooms.
The centre’s main referrals are from local London boroughs which Swanstaff contact services has contracts with. The centre has a referral form for looked after children in care proceedings. Families that are going through or have gone through the court can complete a referral on-line securely or request via email.
Swan Family Centre’s website has clear information about operating operations, where centres are located, pictures of rooms and facilities available. It also has a map showing the location of the centre and relevant transport links. The centre has leaflets for parents/referrers and information on charges are given to families/referrers when an enquiry is made to the centre for possible contact sessions. All families are clear about these charges, opening hours and contact details for the centre. Prior to using the services all families are given information about the procedures that needs to be followed by all clients and staff to ensure the safety of all at the centre.
A high proportion of looked after children attend the Lambeth and Croydon centres. They rarely can visit the centre prior to contact sessions due to their circumstances. Where possible with private referrals, children will visit the centre with the resident parent/carer when the pre contact visits are being completed. This gives the children an opportunity to look at the facilities available and to meet the contact supervisors. The centres continue to use the children’s journey planner format if requested by the referrers.
During the pre-contact meeting families are informed of the processes and services they will be getting and by whom. Contact plans are put in place including for any handovers and indirect contact being provided. Risk assessments are completed prior to contact being held in the community or in family homes with a clear procedure in place in case of emergencies. Staff at the centre do not use their own vehicle for transporting children. Children are either brought to the centre by the resident parent or if the centre is facilitating a contact session for the local borough, children are brought to the centre by their foster carer or use the allocated taxi firm registered with the local social services borough. Reviews are completed for private referrals and staff attend Looked After Children (LAC) reviews with a prepared report sent prior to the meeting. The manager liaises closely with social workers allocated to families. Signed copies of all in attendance are given to relevant parties with detailed summary of future work where applicable.
Swanstaff has a selection of qualified staff to carry out contact services from staff trained as child-care workers, social workers, health and social workers, psychology and education staff at all the centres named under the umbrella of Swanstaff. The manager ensures that workers are allocated to families with two named workers for consistency. They ensure all contact workers are clear on what needs to be observed during the contact sessions and potential risks.
The assessor was welcomed at the centre by the Director of contact services who oversees seven centres that are all enhanced accredited by NACCC. They have worked at the company for approximately 20 years and have experience of working in family support and outreach services. The assessor was able to view a good portfolio as well as meeting the some of the staff team. The assessment carried out shows that Swanstaff services is providing a safe and caring environment in which to facilitate contact. Centre management have demonstrated a keen commitment to meeting the NACCC national standards, evidenced by the level of work input over several months. The premises were clean, inviting and well-resourced with a very informative website. The centre provides a good quality service for their users and staff. Any recommended actions following the visit are now complete meaning the service meets the standards for enhanced (supervised) re-accreditation.